Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lowering the bar

Disgusting! Downtown Victoria on a Friday night:

... The square is also where city workers ... are chaining a portable urinal to a lamppost, having just unloaded it from a truck. They do this every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, dropping the grey plastic pillars at four locations downtown.

Around 4 a.m., once the last of the strays have weaved home from the bars, they haul the urinals away again.

The portables are four-holers, with places to stand on each side. Few seem deterred by the fact that the standees are wide open to view by passersby, at least from behind. The city truck hasn't even pulled out of the square when the first customer unzips.

Within five minutes there are seven more, including two homeless men, a pedi-cab driver and a group of young bucks whose dolled-up dates are less than impressed. A steady parade of club-goers flows past, some gawking, some not.

The city estimates the urinals are utilized 24,000 times a year, at a cost of $70,000.

On Thursday, Victoria council unveiled plans for a permanent $40,000 outdoor urinal that will provide more privacy, a curving screen giving it the look of Toronto City Hall.

Me, I say if they really want to stop public urination, they don't need cops with ticket books, they need grandmothers with wooden spoons. Or, better yet, grannies with Tasers. [That’s funny but, realistically, the cops should be doing their damn jobs - arresting or ticketing offenders (and publishing their names), which might lead to ...]

... a change in attitude by drunken doofuses who think a night out is an excuse to discard all common decency.


Victoria has been, as are no doubt many other cities, encouraging bad behaviour on its streets. Vagrancy, panhandling, drug and alcohol use, public urination and you-name-it are met with outrage by most of the citizenry. But the "authorities" response, more often than not, isn’t to discourage the behaviour but to tacitly approve by either ignoring or actively enabling it. Vagrancy and panhandling are ‘tolerated’, needle disposals and exchanges are provided for users and instead of ticketing and arresting drunks and yobs for pissing in public the city spends many thousands of dollars providing disgusting street urinals. It’s idiocy.

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